Tag Archives: business
My website is nearly complete. I have a few more things to add here and there, mostly to flesh out my market section. There are a couple of things that I’m not happy about… I don’t have a way to automatically handle coupon codes, nor handle differneces in shipping prices, but I know getting these fixed is a matter of “when”, not “if”.
One reason I have confidence that this site will improve is the creators of the template I am using, Photocrati, are always updating their product. Also, they always have quickly responded to any question I have had. When first building this site, I tried a couple of free templates. They were difficult to implement, and help was nonexistent. “Free” solutions are sometimes worth what you pay for them. I then bought one of the cheaper templates available. Found out too late that the makers wanted to charge me for tech support. I finally bought the Photocrati template, and while it was more expensive than other templates, it has fantastic support, is very customizable, and included a shopping cart module, which I would have had to buy separately. They are highly recommended.
Also highly recommended is my webhost, Dreamhost. They are affordable, and are very proactive in providing me services. They notify me when there are hacking attempts against my site, and give me lists of things to do to improve security. They even write me back on a Sunday afternoon if I have a question. They make it easy to install a number of programs with a single click. Without their help this webpage wouldn’t be here.
I turned off an anti-spam plug-in in order to update to a newer version of WordPress (the auto update isn’t working for some reason), and I am amazed at how many spam comments I get but don’t usually see. The sad things is that I get far more spam bots visiting then real people.
Of course, the way to fix that is 1) advertise this blog a bit more and 2) actually have something here worth reading. I don’t really want to do the first without the second, but if I make that my standard I am likely to never try to get better known.
What is getting more attention is my Etsy store. I usually get one or two visitors a day, but now it’s five or more. Wish I could figure out why; I haven’t done anything except post about a treasury I was featured in. When I’ve done that in the past I’ve only gotten a small, temporary bump. Of course, if I’m going to be wishing, I should wish that some of those visits would convert to sales!
Some background on today’s quote can be found in the “ever trustworthy” *snort* Wikipedia.
I recently had my biggest sale yet on ETSY. One of the items bought was a set of 4 note cards. No problem.
Two of the cards the buyer wanted I didn’t have on hand. Also no problem. This is why I have a printer; my Lexmark 810 is up to the task of making cards, and I do say in my store description that special orders are welcome. Plus, the customer said that she was in no great rush to get the order, as long as it was to her by Father’s Day (easily done; she lives in town).
Then the fun starts. I print out the two cards I don’t have, and realize that the two from my supplier are 5″x7″, but my blank cardstock is 5.5″x8.5″. Cutting down the larger cards might have been the better choice, maybe, but I decided to print out the other two instead.
Then, after wrestling with positioning, etc, I get all four printed, dry them, inspect them and… They look like crap. It takes me a moment to figure out why; I printed my bright colorful photos on paper with a matte finish. This worked just fine for my Christmas cards, but my landscapes, especially my sunset, were drab.
Back to Office Depot. I grab their glossy (still 5.5×8.5) blank cards, and head home. Wrestle with the printer (there are -four- places I have to over ride the printer driver to create a decently printed card), and voila’, ’tis done.
I’m not making as much money on this order as I’d hope, but hopefully the experience (and customer good will) will help in the future.
I also need to find some 5×7 card stock (I’m looking on the internet between pararaphs). This 5.5×8.5 sort of screams “home made”, IMHO, and not necesarilly in a good way.
I realized yesterday that my biggest roadblock in my “five year plan” was not lack of equipment, or time, or customers, or even talent (maybe). The thing that stands most in my way is… me.
There was a rocket launch last week, a night launch no less, and I didn’t go. I had reasons excuses: I was tired, I had to work the next day, I suck at night photography. But these are all irrelevant at best, and bullshit at worst.
If I want to make photography my full time job, that means treating it like one. My “real” job doesn’t accept the excuse that “I’m tired” as a reason to not show up, and I shouldn’t can’t let myself get away with it either when it comes to taking pictures, editing, writing here, or putting new items online.
Of course, some activities are more useful than others, so I’ll work on finding a balance.
I sold a mouse pad last night… All seems good, I check the buyers address in Pay Pal to make sure it matched the ETSY address. Then I see that the postage paid was only $2.50, which seemed low.
I mail the package off, and sure enough, the post office charged me two bucks. When you add the price of the packaging, that means I lost 50 cents in profit. Since I don’t make much money on the mouse pads anyway, that kinda hurts.
I check my postage set up in ETSY, and the price is correct there. The only thing I can think of is that when I update the postage settings, the changes aren’t applied dynamically to items already listed. Not how I would have set things up.
Needless to say, I’ve now verified that the correct prices are on my products. I’ll have to go through this again when the rate hike goes into effect in May
One of the places I asked for advice regarding Gulf Air’s offer of paying for one of my photos with only a photo credit was the TWIP forums on Flickr. Ms Cathay somehow found out about the post and wrote her side of the story…
Ink Publishing often contacts people on Flickr. We have very small budgets and as contract publishers we do not make the huge amount of money you seem to have worked out above. We only use flickr when we are finding it hard to find the image we need on a photolibrary, so it is usually obscure things (such as your tree of life). You are under no obligation to give the image. I should point out to you however, that a photo credit, especially in magazines with as high a readership as ours, is not worthless and I have myself commissioned many a photographer by seeing a photo I like in a magazine and then googling the photographer. Also we often keep flickr photographers on file who have sent us images and commission them in the future should we trust in their standard of photography and ease of dealing with them.
hope this helps with your query
Senior Picture Editor Ink Publishing
This hasn’t mollified those that were against the deal… As somone pointed out, I have trouble believing she’s going to pay me money in the future if she has a habit of searching for people to give her stuff for free…
A slight moral quandary…
Gulf Air magazine (one of those in flight magazines that try to sell you overpriced executive toys and gadgets) wants to use one of my pictures I took while in Bahrain.
The flip side is that the want to pay me with just a photo credit.
It’s not the lack of money that bothers me, per se…. I’m flattered they like the photo and thrilled to actually be in a magazine. However, if they get a photo from me for free, that means that some photographer that is actually trying to earn a living at his/her craft is going to be deprived of income. This has been a topic of discussion in many of the photography forums I frequent… I don’t want to be one of those guys who drive the prices down for everyone else. That’s almost as bad as scabbing.
On the other hand, I’ve never considered the photo to be commercially viable. It was one of the first pictures I took with my first digital camera. I don’t have it in a RAW format, and there is nothing outstanding about the shot. It’s just an average vacation photo (at best).
It would be nice to be published, and have this credit in my portfolio. It could drive traffic to my store (though I see that as very unlikely). I might be able to get some other work with the publishing company (Ink Publishing), since they have many inflight magazines for all over the world…
But do I shaft the photographic community by doing this?
In the end I decided to ask for compensation, even if it means being passed over for someone not as picky. I haven’t been rejected outright yet. While the editor is making remarks about how she has others under consideration that will allow publishing for free, I figure if she had a wide variety of choices we still wouldn’t be talking. I’ve just sent her two watermarked images for her layout person to play with, since she says the flicker images were too small to work with, and I don’t allow anyone to download different sizes (for a good reason, apparently…)
My decision hinged on three things. One, it didn’t matter what “everybody else” might do, I was responsible for my own actions, and the rightness or wrongness of them was separate from what the next person might do. Two, as others have pointed out, photocredit is pretty much worthless, especially on a plane where the viewer was unlikely to be able to act on the knowledge in any way. Three, Gulf Air magazine apparently makes 4 million a year and reaches 200,000 people a month… Why -can’t- they compensate me fairly?
I published this post in a couple of different places. One thing I found interesting was that the responses were more or less 50/50, even amoung pros and non-pros… I was expecting the people who earn a living from their photos to be a bit more hard core about “giving it away for free”, but I was wrong….
Updates provided as they happen…
Oh, and the picture in question…